United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge.
Araus, an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional
Institution, Coal Township, Pennsylvania (SCI-Coal Twp.),
filed this pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Named as Respondent is
SCI-Coal Twp. Superintendent Vincent Mooney. Service of the
petition was previously ordered.
seeks federal habeas corpus relief with respect to a November
18, 2014 decision rendered by the Pennsylvania Board of
Probation and Parole (Parole Board). The decision at issue,
in part, recalculated Petitioner's maximum release date
from February 26, 2019 to February 3, 2022 based on a finding
that he was a convicted parole violator. See Doc. 1,
¶ 12. Araus explains that he was not given credit for
time spent confined as a technical parole violator from
December 31, 2012 to June 11, 2014 and that period should
have been applied against his maximum release date.
Petitioner also contends that the Parole Board's
calculation of his new reparole eligibility date constituted
a double jeopardy violation.
seeks dismissal of the petition on the grounds that Araus
failed to exhaust his state court remedies and his pending
claims are meritless.
was found guilty of third degree murder on March 6, 1997 in
the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County,
Pennsylvania and was sentenced to an eight and a half (8
½) to twenty (20) year term of imprisonment.
See Doc. 5-1, Exhibit 1. On December 13, 2004, the
Petitioner was released on parole. See id. at
was recommitted to prison on May 25, 2007 for violating the
terms of his parole and his parole violation maximum date was
computed to be June 19, 2016. Petitioner was released on
parole for a second time on June 18, 2007. See id.
at Exhibit 4.
February 11, 2009, Araus was again recommitted for violating
the terms of his parole. His parole violation maximum date
was recalculated to be September 4, 2017. Petitioner was
granted release on parole for a third time on June 27, 2011.
See id. at Exhibit 8.
was retaken into custody following his December 31, 2012
arrest on new criminal charges. As a consequence of this new
arrest, the Parole Board issued a detainer against Araus that
same day. A March 13, 2013 Parole Board decision recommitted
him as a technical parole violator pending disposition of the
new criminal charges. Petitioner did not appeal that
his June 11, 2014 entry of a guilty plea to charges of
terroristic threats and simple assault, Araus was sentenced
to a new term of imprisonment. Petitioner was recommitted to
prison for an eighteen (18) month term as being both a
technical and convicted parole violator by a Parole Board
decision of September 11, 2014. See id. at Exhibit
11. The Parole Board further determined that Araus would not
be eligible for reparole until December 11, 2015 and his
parole violation maximum release date was set as being
February 3, 2022. The Parole Board's decision was
affirmed on November 18, 2014 following an administrative
appeal. A petition for review filed by Araus was dismissed as
untimely by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on January
12, 2015. See id. at Exhibit 15. Araus did not seek
further review from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
initially contends that the pending petition should not be
allowed to proceed because Araus failed to both timely file
an appeal with the Commonwealth Court and did not seek review
from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. See Doc. 5, p.
6. The Respondent concludes that Petitioner has procedurally
defaulted his pending claims and as such they are precluded
from consideration by this Court.
courts generally refrain from considering the merits of a
habeas corpus claim by a state prisoner unless the applicant
has complied with the exhaustion requirement set out at 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). This provision requires that the
state courts must be given a fair opportunity to review
allegations of constitutional error before a litigant seeks
relief in federal court. See Baldwin v. Reese, 541
U.S. 27, 29 (2004). A petitioner has not exhausted the
remedies available in the courts of the state “if he
has the right under the law of the State to raise, by any
available procedure, the question presented.” 28 ...